ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia will take the field this week against North Texas, just a week before they take on another top-10 foe. The Bulldogs are at 32-point favorite over the Mean Green on Saturday, while they use this week as a tune-up before they host No.6 LSU in Athens next week.
Before taking on LSU, Georgia must first come out victorious against North Texas.
North Texas arrives in Athens with a defense that has forced more turnovers than any team in the nation, ranks second in red-zone defense and has its best record since 1994. The Mean Green are coming off of a 34-27 win against Ball State last week.
The Bulldogs must keep in mind three areas to ensure that this game does serve as simply a fine-tuning before LSU:
Defense: An improving Georgia defense must use this game to correct weak and lacking areas and change the momentum before playing LSU. North Texas doesn’t have the power up front like South Carolina or the ability to make plays like Clemson. If Georgia can keep North Texas to seven or fewer points on the board, its defensive scoring average will decrease to 25 points.
Special teams: Sophomore kicker Marshall Morgan will return from suspension this week and will likely start and replace Patrick Beless. Beless has had much success this season, with 100 percent accuracy against Clemson and South Carolina. Morgan will need to make a nearly perfect transition back into a prominent role.
Injury-free game: Georgia lost Malcolm Mitchell in Week 1 against Clemson, the second year in a row a top receiver was lost for the season. Keith Marshall, Todd Gurley and Kenarious Gates have all been a little roughed up at some point in what’s still the extreme early part of the season. For this game and future games to be successful, the Bulldogs have to remain healthy.